Electric Bike Repairs: FAQ

Electric Bike Repairs: FAQ

Whether you’re the owner of an electric bike or considering purchasing one, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of how to care for them correctly.

Considering they’re more expensive than a standard bike and operate differently, it’s not simply enough to provide basic bicycle maintenance and hope for the best.

While providing ongoing care is important for e-bikes, knowing how to perform repairs as needed can save you a lot of time and money compared to getting help from a professional.

Thankfully, electric-powered vehicles like this have fewer working parts than a gas-powered one, so they’re generally easier to fix.

Can you fix an electric bike yourself, though?

Depending on the complexity of the issue, you should be able to perform most repairs on an electric bike without needing professional help. Issues with parts like batteries, wires, and brakes may arise from time to time, but they’re generally easy fixes you can do yourself.

This guide has been designed to walk you through some of the most common issues that electric bikes have and what you can do to solve them at home.

With our help, you’ll save money seeing a professional for help, and get a huge sense of satisfaction knowing that you’re capable of fixing your beloved e-bike for yourself.

How Do I Fix My Electric Bike?

DIY E Bike Maintenance

Electric bikes go through more than a standard bicycle because they’re ridden more frequently, for longer distances, and at higher speeds.

Although they don’t have as many working parts as a vehicle that’s powered by gas, there are plenty of parts that will require your attention over years of ownership.

If you own an electric bike, you should have a basic understanding of how to fix repairs, and knowing how to troubleshoot and identify the most common issues.

With these tools in your kit, you’ll be ready for anything, even if you’re out on the road.

  • Allen wrenches of various sizes
  • Multi-tool
  • Duct tape
  • Tire pump
  • Extra cables
  • Tube repair kit
  • Voltmeter
  • Zip ties

Ongoing Maintenance for Your E-Bike

Electric bikes are expensive machines, so we want to avoid repairing and replacing them as much as possible.

These are some areas you can check regularly to prevent future damage, so make it part of your e-bike’s care routine to provide these areas of maintenance.

Brakes

Replacing Brake Fluids

Brakes are the last thing you want going wrong on a bike, so check them regularly and make adjustments on any loose or damaged parts as required.

If they’ve worn down completely and you feel comfortable performing the task, you can replace the bike pads and rotors.

Tires

E-bikes are a lot heavier than regular bikes and their tires need to be able to support this weight.

Regularly check the PSI levels and inflate as needed before you go for a ride, and learn the basics of how to fix a flat when you’re on the road.

Never replace them with a standard bicycle tire either, as they simply can’t handle the load.

Battery

A good e-bike battery can last up to 10 years, but not without the right care.

Pay careful attention to the discharge levels of the battery so you’re not recharging it too often or not often enough, try to ride with the wind resistance rather than against it, and be gentle on the battery by riding on eco mode whenever you can.

Chain

Your bike’s chain goes through a lot because of the added weight and speeds that e-bikes reach.

A regular servicing of the chain by cleaning it and lubricating it will prevent future issues and means you’re having to repair it less frequently.

Using a chain wear indicator tool, you can determine when it’s time to replace the chain, and doing so before it wears out too much this will prevent the rest of the drivetrain from damage as well.

Troubleshooting Tips for Common E-Bike Malfunctions

Either you don’t live close to an electric bike repair shop or you just want to be self-sufficient and learn how to fix it for yourself, whatever your reason, e-bike repair is a handy skill to have.

We’ve made a list of some of the most helpful troubleshooting tips to work through if your e-bike isn’t starting to save you from visiting the expensive repair shop.

Bike Not Turning On

If your e-bike won’t even turn on, there’s a good chance it’s battery related. One of the handiest tools you can own as an e-bike rider is a voltmeter.

This device allows you to check the voltage of the battery in mere seconds, and considering a flat battery is the most common issue with these bikes not starting, it’s a quick fix.

The LED on the bike’s display should light up if there’s battery and you’ll be able to check its status but if this doesn’t happen, hook the prongs of the voltmeter up to the battery and try to get a reading.

Battery Running Low Too Fast or Not Charging

A standard e-bike’s battery will run for at least 30 minutes, so when it doesn’t achieve its typical range, there’s something wrong.

The problem could be with the battery, charger, or prongs, so check through each of these for a solution.

  • If the battery doesn’t seem to be getting a full charge, you should first determine how long it’s been without power. A battery left alone for over six months will usually become defective and although it might charge, it’ll be unable to hold that power for long. In this case, you may need to repair the battery or replace it with a new one. If it hasn’t been left and still won’t reach a full charge after spending eight hours connected to power, the battery should be replaced.
  • Another potential solution for this has to do with the charger itself being defective and not the battery. To check whether the battery charger is working, plug it into the wall and see if any of the indicator lights turn on. If it doesn’t appear to work, use your voltmeter to assess whether there’s any output of voltages being emitted. 
  • Finally, the issue could be with the prongs on the battery, and if they’re not lined up correctly, they won’t be able to complete the electrical circuit. Use a wrench to bend them so they’re aligned with those on the charger port and the battery box on the bike itself. Again, you can use your voltmeter to assess whether the wiring connectors are working on the charger port, and this should read at the same level as the battery pack.

Brakes Faulty or Feeling Different

Touching Brake Paddle

The brakes are an important part of an e-bike and as they’re connected to the motor and battery, need some extra attention compared to a standard bike.

Luckily, there are some quick fixes if you think the brakes are faulty or feel like they’re not working as they should be.

  • When our bikes are dropped, it’s common for them to become damaged around the handlebars which are where the brake levers are located. If you can see the brakes are pulled back and stuck, this is sometimes due to the motor inhibitor switch being turned on. A quick fix is to turn the switch off and try to release them but if they don’t release, you may need an electric bike mechanic to replace them.
  • A common cause of brake failure or malfunction has to do with the brake pads. Because of the mass and speed that e-bikes encounter, these pads can get worn out easily. Check the condition of the pads and the brake shoes to see if they need replacing, and then look at the brake cable adjusters to make sure they’re screwed in as tightly as possible. Regular maintenance of the discs, rims, and entire braking system will prevent this in the future.

Throttle Not Working

An e-bike that uses a throttle for power will encounter problems occasionally, and usually due to incorrect use.

Twisting the throttle all the way back and not releasing it slowly will either damage it or cause it to come loose, so here’s how to fix it.

  • Test to see if there’s a throttle malfunction by using your multimeter to check the throttle, motor controller, and a power source. You want to make sure that the throttle is receiving power whenever it’s pulled back. If it doesn’t appear to be working, the throttle can be easily replaced with a home repair kit from an e-bike store or by asking the manufacturer of the bike for a replacement throttle.

Issues With Pedal Assist

If your bike uses pedal assist and you feel that it’s not powering up or has stopped working altogether, there are some easy fixes.

Keep in mind that all e-bikes are made differently and the way their pedal-assist systems are built will differ as well.

  • When the bike pulsates as you ride, this is usually due to the sensor needing readjustment or reconnection. The torque sensor may have been affected during regular maintenance or when the bike was dropped. You can easily adjust it and put it back into place if so.
  • If your bike’s pedal-assist uses magnets on the front sprocket, the likelihood is that the magnets were knocked around while riding, and they now can’t reach match up with the torque sensor. The easy fix is to adjust the disc so it’s back in line with the sensor using some basic household tools.

Problems With the Wires

When your e-bike isn’t powering up and you’ve established it’s not a problem with the battery, there may be wires that need repairing.

There are various parts in the bike that have wires, so you want to make your way through them all to see what the issue is.

  • The controller houses important wires that connect everything, and when they become disconnected, the bike stops completely. Check that all of the wires in the controller are matching their correct outlet by looking at their colors, and then attaching any disconnected ones if needed.
  • The speed controller uses a power switch and when this doesn’t work, it’s because the switch isn’t turned on, or the fuse has burned out. If you suspect it’s been burned out, you’ll need to remove it from the controller to test it, and it may require repair by a professional e-bike mechanic.
  • The wires connecting to the rear hub motor can sometimes become damaged or frayed which prevents the bike from working so check if you can see or smell any issues. If they have been damaged, you’ll need an e-bike mechanic to fix them.

Repairing an Electric Bike Battery

Without a working battery, your electric bike won’t be as powerful, and although these devices can last up to 10 years when properly maintained, they will eventually need to be replaced.

An electric bike without a working battery can still be ridden but it’ll be a lot harder to do so due to the resistance from the motor and the extra weight that these types of bikes carry.

There are a few reasons why a bike’s battery might stop working including cold weather, failure of the battery management system, or deep or high discharge.

Having the tools needed to fix them from anywhere can get you back on the road sooner, so keep electric tape, wire cutter, and an old e-bike battery in your repair kit.

  • Open up the old lithium battery and asses the voltage of the old battery to see that it’s in good condition. A reading of 10.8 or more will indicate this.
  • Carefully remove six individual cells from the battery. These cells are connected in a parallel 2 x 2 format so you have to be careful not to cut the link between each section.
  • Use a piece of wire to connect the cells so that they equal between 36 – 42 volts.
  • Open the old battery connected to your bike and remove the cells that are damaged but be sure to keep the circuit in place. Attach to the circuit to the new lithium battery pack with copper wires.
  • Check the connection a final time by connecting it to the e-bike and turning the power on to see if it’s working. If it is, pack the battery back into the housing and then place it back into the battery box of the bike. Seal it well to keep everything in place.

E-Bike Work Repair Stand

E Bike Repair Stand

Anyone who’s owned a bike before will know how much time you spend doing work on it or tinkering away on various issues.

To ensure your bike is protected while you work and that you’re able to reach all of its parts at the right height and angles, using a bike work stand is the best approach.

For electric bikes, a work stand is even more important, as these unique machines have more delicate parts that need your attention.

The two most common types of repair stands are ones that secure the bike with a clamping mechanism and those that hold onto the bike by its bottom bracket and front dropout.

Within each of these categories are basic stands and professional level devices, so it’s completely up to you which you choose.

An e-bike weighs more than a standard bike, so the most important feature to look for is one that will support its weight.

This means repair stands made for portable use probably won’t be sufficient as they’re made for roadside maintenance of road bikes and mountain bike, both of which are a lot lighter than your average e-bike.

Related Questions

Owning an e-bike can be a lot of fun, but knowing how to look after your bike, perform repairs, and give it ongoing maintenance now and then takes work.

We’ve answered some other common FAQs about electric bike ownership to give you an idea of what’s required of them, so check out our answers to build your knowledge. 

What Is the Warranty on an E-Bike?

E-bikes come with a manufacturer warranty but the length of this cover will depend on the bike, with the more expensive bikes usually having longer coverage.

The most important part of the warranty has to do with the drive system as this is the most expensive part of the bike, and this is usually around two years.

How Long Does an E-Bike Battery Last?

Cheaper e-bikes generally have batteries of lesser quality that don’t last as long as others, so you can expect these to work a little over a year.

With a more expensive electric bike that uses a name-brand battery, you can expect it to last up to three years with regular use, which equates to around 1,000 charge and discharge cycles.

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